'Halloween Ends': The Truth Behind the Horror Franchise

For the past four decades, Michael Myers has haunted viewers both on and off the screen. A mysterious shape lurking in the dark, he has wreaked havoc on the fictitious Haddonfield, Illinois, his body count numbering in the dozens, making him one of the most notorious serial killers on the screen, but what is the true story behind the Halloween horror movie franchise?

It's no secret that many horror films are based, at least in part, in reality, but sorting through the fact and the fiction can be overwhelming. Films like The Conjuring and A Nightmare on Elm Street are loosely based on, or inspired by, actual events, and it seems the same can be said for the Halloween franchise. In A Cut Above the Rest, a documentary on Halloween included on the Divimax DVD from 2003, John Carpenter, the original film's director and co-writer who also wrote 1981's Halloween II, revealed that an encounter he had with a child while attending Western Kentucky University inspired the baby sitter-killing monster known as Michael Myers.

"I had a class-psychology or something-and we visited a mental institution," Carpenter, who also revealed in his Yul Brynner's portrayal as a "killer robot that couldn't be killed" in the original 1973 Westworld film served as inspiration, said. "We visited the most serious, mentally ill patients. And there was this kid, he must have been 12 or 13 and he literally had this look. This blank, pale emotionless face. Blackest eyes. The devil's eyes."

Carpenter explained that look he saw in that child's eyes was best described by lines he gave to Donald Pleasence, in the 1978 film as his character Dr. Loomis, Myers's psychiatrist, described first meeting Myers when the killer was a child: "This blank, pale emotionless face. Blackest eyes. The devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized what was living behind that boys' eyes was purely and simply evil."

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That chance encounter would go on to inspire a 13-film franchise that has spanned from 1978 to 2022 and is set to see its latest installment on Oct. 14 when Halloween Ends premieres, bringing an end to director David Gordon Green's slasher trilogy. When Carpenter was approached by film producer Irwin Yablans to create a horror movie set on Halloween night "about babysitters stalked by this psychotic killer," Carpenter immediately thought back to the boy with the "real evil stare," stating, "it was unsettling to me, it was like the creepiest thing I'd ever seen as a stranger. It was completely insane." As Carpenter began creating the horror villain, he had one goal: "make him human, yes, but almost like a force...that will never stop. That can't be denied."